Cheap soundbar or active speakers + DAC / bluetooth speaker?

Luminance Leon

Standard Member
Hi all,
Looking around here and elsewhere at reviews for low price (<<£150) sound bars to make an LCD TV sound halfway decent (like old Sony CRT TV) doesn't fill me with confidence. As 3.5mm headphone/line out sockets seem to have disappeared, I'm wondering if it wouldn't be preferable to use a low cost USB-powered optical or HDMI DAC and hook up a pair of desktop PC speakers to it.

HDMI DACs are around £15-25 on Amazon. Powered with 5v external PSU or even a USB port from the TV (5v/0.5A ?).
Something like Edifier R1000 on the larger side or Logitech Z200 for something smaller. Creative Pebble V3 (plus a PSU) or Logitech Z207 have bluetooth input to avoid the DAC altogether.

We have some old JBL Duet 2.0 speakers and these sound pretty darned good for what they are. No rattles, no tinny or boxy sound. They don't extend way down but they do sound pretty neutral. I'd have no problem using these, but they aren't available any longer and we'd have to keep moving them to use with TV/laptop.

From my understanding making soundbars sound good is going to take some engineering due to the size and shape. Why not go with a more conventional speaker cabinet design with a separate housing for each speaker (L/R) and get a full sound for a lot less ££?

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